9:53am PT by Eriq Gardner
Nicollette Sheridan Gets New 'Desperate Housewives' Trial
In a surprising turn of events, the long-running dispute over former Desperate Housewives Nicollette Sheridan's firing is not over.
Sheridan sued ABC, Touchstone and Housewives creator Marc Cherry for $20 million in April 2010, claiming she was let go from the series in retaliation for complaining about being hit in the head by Cherry during a September 2008 argument on the set.
At a trial just against Touchstone, jurors were deadlocked at 8-4 in Sheridan's favor. Later, a California appellate court said that the trial judge should have issued a directed verdict in favor of the defendants on the basis that it wasn't a strict termination, but rather that Sheridan's contract was not renewed after the fifth season. It was suggested she file her case under California's Labor Code.
Sheridan then pursued Touchstone for allegedly retaliating against her for complaining about unsafe working conditions. But she filed her claims late, and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Stern wouldn't allow it.
Just weeks after confirming this, Judge Stern has ordered a new trial. The basis for the ruling isn't immediately clear although in court papers filed by Sheridan's lawyers last week, the plaintiff pointed to recent rulings by other judges that suggested there is no requirement to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a labor claim.
Touchstone lawyer Adam Levin confirmed to THR the new trial order, but declined to comment on the ruling. He has told the judge he will be appealing. A status conference has been scheduled for April.